An aspect of civil engineering that many people outside the industry may take for granted is facade engineering, or the design of a building’s enclosure. The outer walls of a structure are responsible for the building’s energy efficiency, ability to withstand certain weather conditions, and, of course, support. Additionally, they essentially make up a building’s overall aesthetic.
Because of the freedom structural engineers and architects have when it comes to a building’s facade, many tend to get very creative, showing off their abilities and design skills. However, the function of these outer walls is often more important than their appearance. Specialists tasked to construct these structures must adequately understand how to balance resources and cost while also incorporating a little bit of creativity, and functionality.
Today, more than ever, structural engineers and those assigned to the construction of facades are forced to approach these projects with energy conservation in mind. Throughout previous decades, these were typically made of concrete with very little visual appeal. Now, designers understand the importance of natural lighting and how that can contribute to a reduced consumption of energy by the building being constructed. This offers better airflow through a building that may be predominantly comprised of facades, making it both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Given the amount of coverage our planet’s climate is receiving in the news today, the issues and concerns surrounding it must be addressed in nearly all facets of design. Engineers of all sorts must implement holistic strategies when planning the facades of buildings, and with the constantly changing world of environmentally-conscious construction, facades are all the more important because of their roles in lighting, ventilation, and temperature control.
So long as a building’s facade is accurately and efficiently designed, its cost of operation can be reduced significantly. However, facades can be fairly expensive when developing the blueprints of a particular building, making the planning of its structure that much more difficult. Because of how important sustainability is today however, it is a price that structural engineers and architects should be willing to pay, and design accordingly.
The use of the building should be taken into consideration as well when planning the design of a facade. Whether it is for residential use, commercial use, or an office, the comfort of those who will be occupying its quarters should be a priority in addition to the cost and energy savings. The levels of noise that are able to pass through a facade should be taken into account as well depending on its location in terms of street level and community.
When all’s said and done, it’s no wonder that facade engineering can be surprisingly difficult, with the many challenges structural engineers face throughout the planning process. But, these challenges should help those in the industry come up with new, innovative ways to improve a building’s energy use, and overall function.